Jewelry Store Burglar Sentenced To 18 Months

SNOW HILL – An Ocean City man arrested in January after breaking into a Boardwalk jewelry store and stealing thousands of dollars in merchandize before being captured and detained by employees of a downtown bar pleaded guilty yesterday in Circuit Court to one count of felony theft and was sentenced to 10 years in jail.

Donald Anthony Collins, 51, appeared in Circuit Court on Thursday to face a dozen total charges from burglary to theft to malicious destruction of property stemming from an incident on the Boardwalk in January. Collins pleaded guilty to one count of theft over $1,000 but under $10,000 and was sentenced to 10 years in jail, with all but 18 months suspended. He was also placed on probation for two years and fined $500.

Around 1:20 a.m. on Jan. 2, Ocean City police responded to the Somerset South Jewelry store on the south end of the Boardwalk in reference to an intrusion alarm. When officers arrived, they discovered the front window of the jewelry store had been completely smashed out and several of the store’s jewelry display cases had been knocked over.

Officers were able to contact the store manager, who arrived on the scene a short time later. While waiting for the store manager, resort police officers were advised a male suspect was being detained nearby on Wicomico Street by employees of the Cork Bar. The suspect, later identified as Collins, was in possession of a large amount of jewelry along with a portable display box.

Officers responded to Wicomico Street and determined the jewelry found on Collins was the same merchandise reported stolen.

The investigation revealed Collins had been in the Cork Bar earlier in the evening and appeared to be heavily intoxicated, according to police reports. Witnesses said Collins left the bar and returned later attempting to sell the stolen jewelry, but was told to leave the Cork Bar.

A short time later at closing time, car employees observed Collins on the street near a soda machine with what appeared to be several small jewelry displays. At that point, Cork Bar employees said they believed the jewelry may have been stolen and detained Collins while they called police. All this occurred around the same time police officers were investigating the break-in.

Collins was arrested and charged with one count of second-degree burglary, one count of fourth-degree burglary, one count of felony theft from $10,000 to $100,000, one count of felony theft valued at $1,000 to $10,000, along with three counts of malicious destruction of property.